Gratitude Sunday: September Season

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow, and oh so mellow…” Tom Jones

Sunday Haiku
Soft autumn sun heats
skin thirsty for radiant
bone soothing comfort.

Sunday Musings
September is a special month and always seems a little sad to me. When the harvest is almost done, food preservation almost completed as well, pumpkins and winter squashes lie fat and orange in the fields next to corn stalks chopped into stubbled plots, it feels like the end of the year as we prepare to celebrate the work of our summer labors. The harvest celebrations last three months these days, from Halloween through Thanksgiving and Christmas, and are only over when we welcome winter in at the New Year. Other cultures celebrate other holidays during these times as well, and while I won’t pretend to know enough to name them, I honor them along with “American/Christian” holidays. As if it makes any difference to differentiate: a celebration is (any excuse to) party is a celebration. All good.

September brings changes. We start a new school year, and we establish a new/newer version of a household routine to accommodate outside events we want to attend for the season. September recalls all those other beginnings, all the first days at school and new schools, all the new jobs, all the new routines and new teachers and strange classmates and co-workers, friendly and otherwise. We have a new sports season; suddenly football is upon us and all weekend long cheers of team spirit erupt from living rooms and high school and university stadiums across the nation.

September bodes the transitions we are looking forward to for the season. We receive our property tax bills right before election day, and they are due just after election day. How’s that for timing? And Daylight Saving Time changes the weekend before election day as well, so we will all still be acclimating to the time change as we are asked to make political decisions. Prevent any despair by preparing ahead of time and know your vote well before the time change and election day. (Oregonians, who can vote by mail, you can vote before Halloween and have it all done before the holiday!) This could be the most important mid-term vote of our lifetimes, so be good scouts and be prepared. Halloween is only one day but is so much fun it can be a distraction to real life, and we live life 365 days a year so multi-task: celebrate and prepare to vote.

September says goodbye to the last heat of summer, the last warm days of the year. Colorful flowers give way to the parade of leaves dying, dying with every burst of color they have left in them, kicking their chlorophyll deprived bodies into the unknown as their umbilical-stems shrivel and dry, released precipitously from the branches that gave them life, filling the streets and gutters with their water-clogging leafy carcasses. The light and the heat from the sun softens as the earth orbits on its inevitable journey; the days grow short and the dark of night grows longer.

In September the sun visits less, and the rains return from their summer vacation. Rain (blue) plus sun (yellow) equals grass (green). I know, math, complicated by color theory and stream of consciousness, right? Sometimes hard to follow, especially when there is no basis in hard science, and some basis in thinking too much.

When September is over, the rush of holidays will be upon us and we will fly from one event to another in a hurry to end another year and begin a new one. We will cook, and eat, and laugh, and visit people we don’t get to see most of the year. We will giggle and goo-goo over the new babies and the toddlers, we will invite older children into adult conversations as they are the future of our world. We will carefully share information because differences of opinion are nothing to lose friends and family over. We will listen to the stories of our elders who remember history, and to our contemporaries who have valid experiences to share we all might benefit from, and to our teens and twenty-somethings who are lighting the way in a new world with their energy. If we listen to each other we might learn how much alike we are, even when our opinions and ages differ.

September is the beginning of closing out the year, beginnings and endings, the ultimate transition with both occurring at the same time. We say goodbye to a productive summer and get ready to bundle in for the winter. If we can, we spend a little time taking stock, maybe discard a few things (which might be another person’s treasure – avoid consumerism and re-gift, re-gift, re-gift!), clear the summer’s dust we were too busy to clean because it was time to play and work outside.

As the nights grow longer there are more evening hours to reflect and contemplate. I’m at that time in my life where I take the luxury of just sitting and thinking, because I’m not as able to be as active as I used to be. One could say I’m entering the September of my life, and I want to be only entering as I want many good long days to come. It’s a good thing. As I’ve already said September is beginnings and endings. Old routines give way to new, and old skills can improve or change. Some things we leave behind as we learn to adapt or accommodate to a different position when we still want to get our work done. The same old way might not be the best way forever, it’s good to try new ways as well. September is an excellent example of change being the only constant. I may be sad at what we leave behind, but I am grateful for the opportunity of every day to keep learning and moving forward.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I try to capture the soft autumn light and the parade of leafy tree color. Here are some reds and oranges. Still green but tinged with fiery yellow and orange. Purple autumn crocuses confuse me, makes me think I’m still in spring not entering autumn. Yellow leaves muted by shadow. I love these layers of contrast between greens in the evergreen trees against the flame colors of the deciduous. An autumn rose pink-ishly, peach-ishly clinging to summer.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} The First Wives Club (1996, rated PG) with Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton. I didn’t see this movie when it first came out at a time when VHS and DVDs were costly even when rented. Thanks to our tax investments I can use the local lending library to see these old movies for free now. I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for this one. As much as I generally love the work of these women, this was entirely a fluff movie. Meh * Started the DCI Banks (2010-2016, rated TV – 14) BBC series. Cop show, old school male cop, female co-worker, assorted supporting cast, intriguing plot lines. Sometimes I can figure out who-dun-it before the end of the show rolls around. * Wild Oats (2016, rated PG – 13) with Shirley McClain and Jessica Lange. After her husband dies, the insurance company sends the wife a check much larger than the policy had been purchased for. She deposits the check in the bank for safe-keeping and takes her friend on an adventure. Chaos ensues. I love movies with women of significant age.

Currently ReadingThe Little Paris Bookshop (2015, fiction) by Nina George, originally written in German; I’m reading the English translation, recommended by a friend. Monsieur Perdu owns a “literary apothecary” and prescribes literature for what ails you from his book barge on the Seine as he hides his own “ailment”. * Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone in the Dust, Why That is a Problem, and What to do About It (2017, sociology, wealth) by Richard V. Reeves. The author explains why the American upper middle class is trying to distance itself and insulate itself from the lower classes of American working society. I’d like to understand this, as from my point of view, I worked just as hard in my life and had nowhere near the success; for me the American dream of home ownership and the privilege of a property tax bill, a college education, bills paid, and a comfortable and secure retirement is dead, as it is for 80% of Americans. As the author begins to explain, it’s somewhat a case of who you know to help you climb that legacy ladder to success. * I got to spend several days with Pete Souza’s picture book Obama: An Intimate Portrait (2017, presidential photography) loaned to me by a trusting friend. I was terrified the whole time I had it that I would spill something on it, so I was extra careful. The queue at the local lending library remains around 50 people and has been since the book came out. My friend thought I shouldn’t wait. The pictures weren’t all perfect composition-wise, many were notable only for capturing those candid moments. The book was hard to look at for several reasons including nostalgia for a time when I could sleep feeling somewhat safe in my bed, and I found myself crying at many of the pictures: remembering the unwarranted racial abuse the Obama family endured while serving the nation; the obvious love Obama has for his family; the sheer humanity in Obama’s face and deeds; the horrible attempt at dismantling democracy we are enduring now in the wake of Obama’s service and the hope that reason and compassion will prevail.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • A friend who got an eviction notice because her landlord wanted to sell the house (the landlord offered to sell her the house but it wasn’t quite the right size for the family), who found another house to buy and less than six weeks later holds the key to her new house, avoiding the scramble for storage and/or temporary housing. Loving how sometimes the universe cooperates abundantly.
  • The days. Every day. And how they go by. Laughing at myself.
  • Looking forward to my Medicare birthday next month.
  • Wanting something cozy to wear to hang around the house in that didn’t look like a bathrobe, and finding an extra long, extra large hoodie. Using my birthday to justify the purchase.
  • Noticing the changes of aging. I used to be the one who was always hot, and now I have many times I can’t get warm even though I carry around my own heater with me (read: insulated by fat, which doesn’t seem to be working that way any more.)
  • Freely sharing my aging experiences with youngers so they know what they have to look forward to. No rose colored glasses or graceful aging here. Just cold hard facts about the body.
  • The son helping me put up a string of orange Halloween lights, because I just couldn’t wait any longer.
  • Replacing my old worn out (read: glove fingers torn to shreds, so, useless) garden gloves, and getting a start on a small overgrown spot. A little bit at a time.
  • Ten minute work windows.
  • The last of the summer’s heat; open doors; the soft susurrus of breezes in tree leaves.
  • Fat Oregon figs and a chunk of locally made raw milk alpine cheddar. Num.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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